PROJECT TOPIC- EXPLORING WOOD SHAVINGS AS A MEDIUM AND IDEA FOR SCULPTURE
It is not very interesting to do what others can, to create something out of nothing in a completely new way is far more inspiring (Sergie: 2010). The above observation by the experimental artist, Sergei Bobkov, adequately introduced this project report. Before wood, clay, stone, feathers and other mediums are converted into works of art; they constituted energies of nature (Elden, 1976). In fact, artists have explored smoke, water, fabric, plastic, light, paper, leaves and every other material for sculpture that is readily available.This simply shows that materials for sculpture can be anything that could be felt or touched. Even growing grasses and trees, animals (dead or alive) and even the body of the artist himself, have been assimilated into the sculptor‟s materials catalogue (Elden, 1976).
Traditionally, sculpture can simply be referred to as the creating of three-dimensional forms using any of the methods of sculpture such as casting, carving, modeling; cutting and joining to work materials like wood, clay, metal or stone. In the contemporary period of radical artistic exploration of materials and processes, a lot of innovations, in terms of creative use of materials, have been noticed in sculpture. Thus, a constructivist, Naum Gabo observed in Candler (1936) that artists continued to call all free standing tree dimensional work of plastic art “sculpture”. Modern period has seen the invention of three dimensional works of arts which seem not to have been „sculpted‟ or „moulded‟.
However, the idea of creating sculpture with materials regarded in the society as waste, or unusual art materials has become a huge source of inspirations to artists.
The recent work of Dave Stephens on woodchips has been described as encounters “the tensions between incidental encounters and economics of dispersal, which are increasingly relevant in Globalize world” (Wikipeida 1984). This is because, there is a breaking down of the piece into series of small sections, but the surface pattern reunites them. The ability to discover discarded objects for artistic purpose involves physical and spiritual activities that require insight.An object, though recognizable by the physical eye, becomes something else when observed using the artistic eye.
The environment offers various discarded objects and materials with which artists can create and recreate interesting valuable works of art. These wastes may come from agricultural produce, animals, natural objects, fabrics and wood. Furniture makers, carpenters, sculptors (carvers) and other wood workers produce wood shaves or chips as they work with wood for utilitarian and aesthetic purposes. These shaves and chips are usually regarded as wastes from the carpenters and sculptors work-benches and are often destined for bins and fire places.These discarded wastes on the other hand, hold hidden elements that can give voice to creative ideas and elements that can be translated into visual metaphor. The researcher therefore, considers wood shavings fascinating enough for exploration in sculpture.
According to Oxford Dictionary, shavings are the thin pieces cut from a piece of wood using a sharp tool. Therefore the researcher viewed wood shavings as medium-sized materials made by cutting, chopping, shavings and carving of large pieces of wood with sharp objects. Shavings vary insizes; some are long and coiled while some areshort. Shavings can be produced from seasoned or wet wood. The texture of wood shaving depends on the shaving or planing process of the wood.
Wood shaves are always smooth in texture, but practical experience shows that cutting against the lines of the wood grains will not only give rough texture but also lead to indiscriminate breakages of the shavings. Wood shavings have colours ranging from yellow, red and brown to velvety black (depending on the colour of the wood they are from). The colours in wood shavings emanate from natural wood colour. Again, the concentric rings forced by the branch growing out of the trunk sometimes leave their marks in series of growth which interrupt the vertical grain of the trunk thereby deposits colour to the wood.
Wood shavings have been in existence for a very long time. It has been locally used in several ways. The availability of the materials in abundance has encouraged farmers to use wood shavings in covering seedlings (young germinating seeds) to protect them from high intensity of the sun‟s heat. These shavings are usually arranged around the seedlings to prevent excessive loss of water from the soil. This was because wood shavings do not decompose fast.
On the other hand, many poultry farmers and breeders use wood shavings as litters. For this purpose, the shavings used are normally short and light. Shavings allow the birds free movement when spread in poultry. After about three weeks of use, the same shavings will be removed and recycled as compost manure.In many pottery industries, wood shavings play good role during packaging of pottery products like eggs. They are also used in packaging ceramic wares.Wood shavings are carefully placed in-between ceramic wares to keep them from making body contacts which could lead to breakages or cracks.
Nevertheless, many homes in Nigeria use wood shavings as a biomass solid fuel for cooking. It is popularly known as “stove dust”. The shavings are carefully stock-piled and rammed in the stove with the middle left open. Little or no fire wood will be added through the middle opening. This is also done with saw dust or short and light shavings.
Inspite of all these, wood shavings have not been used artistically, either as art medium or an idea for art. This project, however, elaborately explores wood shavings as a medium for sculpture works.
PROJECT TOPIC- EXPLORING WOOD SHAVINGS AS A MEDIUM AND IDEA FOR SCULPTURE
Statement of the Problem
Developing a way of working wood shavings or artistic productions and finding means of generating and realizing ideas in the medium for creative expression formed the major studio problem. In the other words, the extent of which wood shavings can be manipulated for eloquent artistic statement informed the drive to explore the material in several ways. This has raised some questions: How could wood shavings be employed as a medium for artistic creation and an instrument in interrogating social issues? What visual forms are practicable with wood shavings?The questions therefore, pushes the artist to seek for sculptural possibilities that wood shavings can offer for effective visual metaphor and to explore how artists could generate ideas for creative exercise with wood shavings.
Exploring wood shavings as a medium and idea for sculpture project addressed the above studio problems.
Objectives of the Study
In this research work the research is set out
1. To investigate ways in which artists have explored wood shavings.
2. To generate explorative ideas and subsequently make artistic creations with wood shavings.
3. To explore numerous possibilities wood shavings could offer in creating visual metaphors.
Significance of the Study
This is a research into the characteristics of wood shavings for an eloquent artistic language. The project is an attempt to recycle wood shavings which is a waste, for visual imageries. This effort does not only help in sanitizing the environment, it also assists in enlightening the public on the possibilities of waste management. For the creative exploration, it is hoped that this study will take the researcher through different techniques and processes that will give him a louder voice in the field of art. Finally, the project will add to what others researchers have done so far in the area of explorative sculpture.
Scope of the Study
This research is focused on the exploration of wood shavings as art materials for sculpture. It entails studying the medium and how it could be manipulated for well-expressed artistic statement. Different sizes and forms of wood shavings were used in the experiments though other materials were added occasionally.